50 States, Church Surch, Week 25
New Break Church
Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Peter."
After seeing and touring ancient churches all over the country, we visited a church that reflected the modern culture. We found New Break Church in Tierrasanta, California in a strip mall. I used to disdain strip mall churches, as way back when the church building stood high above everything else in the community. Yet the strip mall church is in and a very integrated part of the community.
The church is available in six locations, making a big impact through dispersion. Their website lists their beliefs in a clear and concise manner.
The building, as the faithful, exuded comfort from padded modern chairs to people gathered at kiosks outside the entry. And the website-a really excellent one-let people know they were welcome to come in flip flops. Additionally, the leader, Pastor Mike, wore jeans and a t-shirt. My kind of dress code.
The worship team did just that, with nine people leading, complete with a violin. We commenced with 'How Awesome is The Lord Our God' and kept on with modern music. At the conclusion, we broke for coffee. Yep, a church service that takes a coffee break. I wandered around the foyer and outside, looking alone. Nobody chatted me up. Meanwhile QG stayed behind and struck up a conversation with Amy, who'd been attending for seven years and loves it.
The worship leader introduced Pastor Mike and said something like, "Come on up babe."
Sorry. Age showing.
Pastor Mike, looking like a cancer victim with his shaved head (Dude, my age is showing again!), was the real deal. He challenged us: "You can never settle for the greatness of yesterday" and "Tell others the story-the pain and the dreams." He challenged us to face our fears and highlighted two examples of when he feared and how he overcame it. I love that, because he shared his weaknesses, something most pastors fail to do. The other thing that took him and his church head and shoulders over every other church I've visited was he challenged us to take chances, to follow the Lord, to overcome our fears.
And Mike is a risk taker. Calls himself an entrepreneur. And he surfs. He used his other passion ( a distant second place) surfing, to relate how we can take chances and God can make us what He wants us to be. That was awesome too.
At the conclusion, Mike challenged everyone to figure out what God would have them do but rather than dither and wait, do something! It would be easier for God to move you in the right direction if you are going somewhere. Seven people lined up at the altar to pray for and talk to people.
The service concluded and we exited the church and spoke with no one. One thing I noticed today was eye contact. We- us people- are poor at making and holding eye contact with others. Why is that? Fear of connection, I believe. Unwilling to share our soul with others.
Outside of the personal disconnect, New Break takes First Place on the Church Surch. Congratulations.
Sorry. Couldn't resist.